After watching this past week's games, most of the major conferences have sorted themselves out nicely. There are only twelve undefeated teams left spread among five BCS conferences (the Big East lost theirs last this week thanks to Virginia Tech), and no more than five of those teams will finish the year undefeated. It appears that this will be another year where one or two one-loss teams will make the Rose Bowl, and the BCS will be vital in figuring out which team is most deserving. Every week the major conferences seem to have at least one major game with national title implications. Based on the first two weeks of conference play, this week's top games could effectively be conference or division title games in the middle of October! The winners of the following top three games will certainly be conference title frontrunners for the next few weeks, so the BCS implications are obvious. Two important games I did not select below will be covered more in the conference breakdowns, but Ohio at Bowling Green will be the biggest test for BGSU in the MAC regular season and California at UCLA will determine USC's biggest competition for the Pac-10. That being said, here are your top three games of the week!
Oklahoma. The mere word put Texas fans in fear the past five years. This was the big game that always vaulted Oklahoma to national championship chances and Big XII title games. This year Texas again has more talent and will be favored to win the game, but Oklahoma is truly rebuilding for the first time under Bob Stoops. Texas proved themselves four weeks ago in the Horseshoe, and that game as it turns out was a bigger game than this one. Texas understands that losing to Oklahoma would probably eliminate them from the Big XII title game once again, and I really cannot see them passing up on this opportunity. Bob Stoops can out-coach Mack Brown all he wants, but Texas will score at least 20 with Vince Young at the helm and that will be more than enough with Oklahoma's offensive woes. I'll take Texas by 21 in a game of revenge and national statement. If Oklahoma wins this game, it will perhaps be the greatest upset in this series!
Two weeks and nine conference games into Big Ten play, and eight different teams have lost a conference game (Illinois lost two!). Wisconsin has knocked Michigan and Indiana out of the lead and gets a relative rest this week at Northwestern, but Ohio State has to travel to Penn State to take on JoePa's fantastic freshmen. The Nittany Lions have never been an easy out for the Buckeyes, but this is the first year in this decade that Paterno has real national talent in the plain uniforms again. Unfortunately for Penn State, Ohio State will not be overlooking them for Michigan State, and they have had two weeks to prepare for the Lions. Ohio State always comes out cold in their first road game (just like the other Big Ten power Michigan), so Penn State could grab a lead and hold it most of the game. As impressive as Penn State's win over Minnesota was last week, Ohio State has a national championship caliber defense and will not let Penn State score 30, let alone 44 this week. A couple of breaks (read: more Buckeye fumbles in red zone attempts) and Penn State could pull the upset and become a surprise conference title favorite and national title darkhorse. I'll take OSU by seven, though, as I really doubt Tressel will waste the extra week to prepare for a hostile road game.
The SEC's Florida, Tennessee, and LSU all dropped from the undefeated ranks and the top ten early this season in conference showdowns. Tennessee has recovered from the loss to Florida and was helped by Alabama this week in perhaps gaining control of their own destiny in the SEC East again. The Volunteers must get by Georgia this week at home or else they will probably be permanently removed from the SEC title race and BCS bowl possibilities. Rick Clausen looked good last week, but Georgia is a whole different test. Will Georgia falter like every other top ten SEC team before them in a big conference battle? I'll take Georgia after only watching their early big victories, but it will be very close. Georgia by 3, and maybe some overtime!
Well that's all I have for this week, so let me wrap it up with the usual ending. Have a great week!
Top 3 Games of the Week record to date: 5-10 (0-3 last week)
Fitzy's Top 10 - Week 6
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